ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready?  Whatever your task is, are you ready?  Once again, I’m back in the whitetail woods, looking to harvest a mature buck.  Preparing to be ready, I’ve been scouting, practicing with the bow, looking at deer signs, practicing scent control, planting food plots, and viewing thousands of trail camera pictures; these all help put me in a position to get a shot at a deer.  

It’s incredible how a small squirrel can sound like a heard of elephants, and a 150-pound deer can appear out of thin air.  When the deer does appear, I take only the shot that I’m confident and capable of making. I must be alert, be still, and be ready!  Sometimes that means not shooting – the last thing I want to do is wound the animal.  I want to let that arrow fly with confidence!. 

I’ve put the time in, but will I get the shot today? The final test might arrive in a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks, but I AM READY.  

Get out there and enjoy yourself with confidence and BE READY!

Kentucky Early Muzzle-loader

Yesterday was the opening of the 2-day early muzzle-loader season in Kentucky, so I got up when my alarm went off at 04:45, and (equipped with my gear and a cup of coffee), I headed out to my truck. I was surprised to find frost on my windshield, so after I dealt with that, I started the 40-minute drive to my lease farm in McCracken County.  After stopping at the southside McDonalds for a sausage biscuit and a hash brown,  I got to the farm with plenty of time to set up before daylight.

I unloaded my 4-wheeler and set off for my deer stand; I drove across the cut cornfield, made my way up the ridge, and parked.  As I set off on foot in the dark, I worked my way quietly down the backside of the ridge along the back cornfield. It started to break day when I finally got up in my stand and ready to hunt at 06:30.

Even though it’s still a little too early for the rut this year, I have killed a couple of bucks in the early muzzle-loader season.  You can imagine my excitement when about 15 minutes after I got in my stand, I saw movement across the field.  I grabbed my binoculars and saw a large-bodied deer with visible antlers walking.  It was still too dark and too far (about 175 yards) to know for sure if it was a shooter or not, so I picked up my grunt call and grunted at him twice, hoping he would come to investigate the buck grunts – but he didn’t.  Instead, he slowly walked out of the field and into the woods. 

It’s hard to size up a deer at 175 yards in low light, so the best thing to do was pass on this deer and be ready for the next opportunity.  After a while, only seeing four does since the buck, I decided to climb down from my stand around 09:15.  Timing is the key for many things in life, and today the buck’s timing was in his favor! Perhaps next time it will be in my favor, and Mr. Buck won’t be so lucky. 

It was a great morning to be out enjoying God’s creation with such a beautiful sunrise, cool temps, and (of course) the wildlife. 

Opening Day of Bow Season 2020

What are you passionate about?  For me it’s the opening day of bow season here in Kentucky.  For me it’s like the anticipation of Christmas as a small child or a kid in a candy store.  There is a great excitement leading up to opening day.  This year was no exception and it was finally here, September 5th, 2020.  Now it was Hoyt time!  I planted my food plot with oats, wheat, purple top turnips, clover, and rape.  They were greening up quickly with the warm temperatures and plenty of rain, that brought smile to my face.    I was in the deer stand by 0600 hoping to fill my tag with a velvet buck or a big gobbler.  Kentucky is one of a few states you can harvest a buck still in velvet, because of the early opening of bow season.  This morning it was 57 degrees and very light wind tickling the leaves on the trees.  Soon birds filled the air with their songs, crows cawed, owls hooted, and squirrels were cutting on nuts in the distance.   At 0625 I spotted some movement across the food plot, it was a gray squirrel scampering along the edge.  Then a few minuets later I heard the first shot of the morning ringing out in the distance.  Wait a minute it’s bow season, but I soon realized dove season was also going on too.  Note I self, I need to clean the windows on this box blind.  0640 a turkey came in the food plot with approximately a 6-inch beard, now I a shaking like a leaf.  I finally calmed myself down and the turkey turned away from me at about 20 yards and I drew my bow and place my 20 yard pin in the middle of the turkeys back and let the arrow go.  I heard the thud of the arrow as it hit the turkey.  My arrows are equipped with a lighted knocks, and I could see my arrow sticking in the ground where the turkey was standing.   The turkey took off running down a logging road directly across from me and disappeared as it rounded a curve in the road.  I thought I had made a good shot, but time will tell.  Have you every noticed when watching a clock how it seems to slow down or stop.  I waited an hour before getting down.  I went to my arrow and found a handful of feathers, then I walked down the logging road to where I had last seen the turkey.  No turkey, so I slowly walked another 200 yards past where I had lost sight of the turkey.  Still no turkey, so I circled to my right 50 yards or so back to the spot I last saw the turkey, still no turkey.  Very disappointed I climbed back into my elevated box blind and hunted for about another hour or so, all kinds of thought raced through my mind, where was my turkey.  Did I make a good shot or had I just wounded the bird.  An hour later it was 0900 and I got down and walked to where I had last saw the turkey.  I walked off to the left and hadn’t gone more than 30 or 40 yards and flushed my turkey about another 15 yards.  I got in position and put a second arrow in the bird, it turned out to be a bearded hen with a 7 ¼ inch beard.  What an exciting hunt this morning, my emotions had gone from 0 to 100, and then from 100 to 0 in a very short time, what an emotional rollercoaster ride this was!

Hunting is like life, you have success and failures.  I need to enjoy my success and learn from my failures!  I hope your hunts are all successes this year  God is good!

squirrel hunting

Today is Friday, August 28, 2020.  My food plots are planted, and it is raining today.  Timing is everything when it comes to food plots and hunting.  I hope you can get your food plot planted in front of some rain.  Today I wanted to reflect on when I first started hunting in the early 1970s. 

In Kentucky, for as long as I can remember, squirrel season came in on the third Saturday in August.  I got started hunting squirrels with some high school buddies at Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area (LBL).  I remember some of the joys of hunting in August, such as spider webs everywhere, deer ticks, hot and humid conditions, and the chance of encountering a copperhead or rattlesnake with each step.  Have I convinced you to get out and squirrel hunt yet? 

There weren’t any deer in most western Ky counties during this timeframe, so small game hunting was the best choice for most hunters.  LBL did have a good deer population and would soon be my next game animal to hunt.  I think the squirrel hunting makes you a better deer or turkey hunter because it causes you to pick the right time and place to make your shot.  Squirrels don’t sit still very long and seem to continually be on the move (you have to develop patience on picking the right opportunity for a shot). 

I think the reason I like hunting so much is that I enjoy being in the great outdoors, enjoying God’s creation.  I hope you get a chance to get out this season and enjoy nature and\or a hunt as well.

MY 1ST BOW KILL (DEER)

In the fall of 1983, I went bow hunting with my brother Rob in Land Between the Lakes’ (LBL) Area 8.  We arrived just before daylight to get our homemade climbers set up.  As it got light, I scanned the woods for any movement.  I always like to play a game when bowhunting and this morning was no exception.  I imagine that there is a deer within a hundred yards of me and it’s my job to find it!  After playing that game for a while, I finally did see a couple of does.  They were about sixty or seventy yards away, so since it was such a slow start and a couple of hours of not seeing very much, I decided to get down and do a little scouting.  At the time, I didn’t know Area 8 very well, so I started following a dry creek next to the trail we had come in on to see where it went.  I had been slowly walking, looking, and watching as I worked my way deeper into the woods.  I decided to take a break and sat down on a root wad and put in a chew of tobacco (my only vice at the time).  Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw a 10-point buck walking parallel to the creek about forty yards away.  If he continued on his path, he would soon be in bow range, but he suddenly stopped and reversed his course and disappeared into the woods. 

Since that was such a close encounter, I decided to move my stand to that spot after lunch with Rob.  It wasn’t long after I got settled in before I saw a deer approaching; it was a 6-point buck.  He came in behind me at 20 yards, so I couldn’t get turned good to get a shot. All I could do was watch him as he passed by me and continued walking for about 75 yards.  Then he turned and came directly out in front of me at 20 yards.  That allowed me to put my 20-yard pin on his heart, and I let that arrow fly!  He jumped and ran off about 50 yards before he abruptly stopped and turned his head towards me.  He just stood there, looking at me for about ten minutes before he laid down.  That ten minutes seemed like hours, so the moment he laid down, I decided to sit down.   As soon as I did, he jumped up and ran over the ridge, and out of sight. 

I got down out of my stand and found my arrow before going to get Rob to help me find the deer.  Rob and I returned to the scene of the crime, where I climbed up in the stand again and directed him to go to the point where I last saw the deer.   As soon as Rob got to the crest of the ridge he saw the deer lying there.  I quickly got down and met up with him, and I was thankful he helped find it and get it out of the woods before dark.

I had shot and killed a six-point buck with my Bear Whitetail Hunter bow at LBL, which was my very first bow-harvested deer.  I was now officially a bowhunter.  I am glad I got to share this hunt with my brother.  It’s always better to share a hunt with someone.  Who are you going to share your next hunt with?